Thousands of residents have fled their homes as a fire remains out of control in the Upper Tantallon area of Nova Scotia.
Lisa Parsons was evacuated from her home in Westwood Hills on Sunday afternoon.
She was glad to be safe, but as an animal lover, Parsons knew her job was far from over.
“We’d already gone and broken into someone’s house to get their cats and dogs,” said Parsons.
But once Parsons made it out of the evacuation area, she realized she needed to turn back to save 18 dogs trapped at an overnight daycare.
“The person to call for animals is me,” said Parsons.
When she asked a police officer to let her get through the closed street, Parsons says she was told they had buses to evacuate people but little could be done to save pets.
That’s when Parsons made a split decision to run through the brush to get to the daycare.
“Even if I have to walk the dogs, we’re getting them,” she said.
With blood and cuts on her legs, Parsons managed to save all of the dogs. Many have already been picked up by owners. Others remain at an evacuation site in a local church.
“It was an ordeal,” said Parsons. “It was horrific but I had to get to the dogs.”
Hatfield Farms is a familiar Halifax-area landmark, located along the Hammonds Plains Road.
The farm was included in the area under evacuation orders, which meant owner Brian Hatfield had to move into action to evacuate animals.
Hatfield was on the road all morning Monday moving his horses.
“Friends I never knew I had came to help,” said Hatfield of the swarm of supporters who showed up to help save his horses.
A wedding ceremony was taking place Sunday afternoon on the farm when soot began falling from the sky.
“We just kept on going through the wedding and looked up at the sky,” said Hatfield, adding smoke was coming in during the ceremony.
After the vows and rings were exchanged, it was time to evacuate.
“We put away all the horses and got them out by bus,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield says his property has so far been spared from wildfire damage. He considers himself lucky.
“Back to regular farm work,” he said. “Life goes on and we got to get back to work.”
PAWS & SUPPORT
The Nova Scotia SPCA has sprung into action, offering a place for residents of affected areas to keep their pets safe.
The organization issued a press release Monday urging those who are evacuating to text the SPCA at 902-229-8620 if they need a temporary home for their pets.
In addition, the SPCA is expanding its Paws & Support program, which will help provide shelter for pets displaced by the fire.
The program, which was originally designed to take care of animals in situations where their owners were in hospital or fleeing domestic violence, has helped evacuate 86 animals, as of Monday morning.
Donations to the Paws & Support program can be made online.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ana Almeida